Rachel Lowe launches Beano board game to celebrate 70 years of Dennis the Menace

The iconic British comic brand, Beano is celebrating the 70th anniversary of Dennis the Menace’s first appearance with the launch of a new board game developed by the award-winning designer, Rachel Lowe.

In a partnership secured by Rocket Licensing on behalf of Beano Studios, the new Beano game will bring Dennis and Beanotown friends together for a plethora of playable pranks and school playground humour.

Players will take turns to journey around Beanotown and try to complete pranks while avoiding being caught by the teacher. Perhaps a whoopie cushion will be dropped at Mount Beano or a custard pie will splat the walls of Bunkerton Castle? The player to prank six different locations first will win the game.

The game takes inspiration from the case and heritage of The Beano, the longest-running British children’s comic magazine which in August 2019 celebrated its 4,000th issue. 70 years ago, Dennis first appeared in the comic and has been loved by children and adults from around the world ever since.

As well as the game, a 200-piece and 1000-piece puzzle featuring more of the comic’s characters, including The Bash Street Kids will be released later in the year.

Rachel Lowe said: “Beano is an absolute classic with a dedicated fan base around the world. Dennis has one of the most iconic and recognizable faces – the messy black hair and that mischievous grin are what people love the most. I am thrilled to be working with the Beano team to create these new products to celebrate such a wonderful anniversary for a wonderful character.”

Vanessa Andreis, franchise planning and partnerships director, Beano Studios, said: “For 70 years, kids have read and laughed along with Dennis and now thanks to this incredible Rachel Lowe partnership, fans big and small can come together to test their own prank skills.

“We look forward to creating a range of games that generations of family and friends can come together to enjoy.”

The Beano board game is £29.99 and available from www.amazon.co.uk and  www.rachellowe.co.uk now.

The new game is available alongside Rachel’s current range including Elf on the Shelf, Call the Midwife and WWE: Road to WrestleMania.

Released before Christmas 2020 and designed for all the family, The Elf on the Shelf game plays out the story of Scout Elves, who fly back to the North Pole each night to report to Santa who has been Naughty and who has been Nice.

The WWE: Road to WrestleMania game, released at Christmas 2019, is available with a 500-piece puzzle and playing cardsallowing WWE fans across the UK to become part of the electrifying global pop-cultural event. The products featured WWE Superstars including John Cena, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch and have been popular with WWE’s passionate fanbase.

Finally, the Call the Midwife products (board game, puzzle and playing cards) have continued to be popular in their third year of release.

Lowe said: “Call the Midwife is a show with a dedicated following and the new series later this year will be very popular. I will be looking to update the game and puzzle to keep it in line with the new characters and story lines coming in future series.”

Rachel Lowe launches The Elf on the Shelf Board Game through Rocket Licensing deal

Award-winning board game designer Rachel Lowe has partnered with The Lumistella Company to bring its flagship property, The Elf on the Shelf to the traditional board gaming space in time for Christmas. The move acts to cement Elf on the Shelf as part of the festive tradition for families across the UK.

In a deal brokered by the UK licensing agency, Rocket Licensing, Rachel Lowe’s official The Elf on the Shelf Board Game plays out the story of Scout Elves who fly back to the North Pole each night to report to Santa who has been naughty and who has been nice. Nice players are rewarded with Candy Canes, while naughty ones lose their candy cane collection.

Designed as a family-friendly title, the games sees player take turns on the spinner to determine their naughty of nice fate, as well as face challenges along the way, including Snowball Fights to collect an extra candy cane. The player with the most candy canes wins the game.

The game is released alongside The Elf on the Shelf Snap Card Game depicting Scout Elves.

Rachel Lowe said: “I love Christmas and I am absolutely delighted to be working with The Elf on the Shelf to create a range of products that any child will love to have this Christmas.

“Every year parents come up with elaborate and funny activities for their elves which they share on social media. I’m really excited to be able to contribute to this Christmas tradition which is such a big part of families’ festive holidays.”

The Elf on the Shelf launched in the UK in 2015 and quickly became a family favourite. Rocket Licensing, which manages the licensing rights for The Elf on the Shelf brand in the UK and Eire, has already predicted that 2020 will be the biggest Christmas ever for the property, which started life as a book and Scout Elf in 2005.

In a recent survey, over half of mums had top of mind awareness of the loveable elf, which also ranked as the third most popular Christmas tradition for children (2019 MMR survey).

The Elf on the Shelf Board Game is available alongside Rachel’s current range, including Call the Midwife and WWE: Road to WrestleMania.

The WWE: Road to WrestleMania board game, released in 2019, is available with a 500-piece puzzle and playing cardsallowing WWE fans across the UK to become part of the electrifying global pop-cultural event. The products featured WWE Superstars including John Cena, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch and have been popular with WWE’s passionate fanbase.

The Call the Midwife products (board game, puzzle and playing cards) have continued to be popular in their third year of release.

Rachel said: “Call the Midwife is a show with a dedicated following and the new series next year, along with the Christmas special, will be very popular. I will be looking to update the game and puzzle to keep it in line with the new characters and story lines coming in future series.”

Beano secures five new licensing partners including games and health and beauty via Rocket Licensing

Beano is expanding its presence across the apparel, games, health and beauty, food and beverage, and partyware sectors thanks to a string of five new licensing deals brokered by its licensing agency, Rocket Licensing.

On board for a fun new range of paper partyware, Smiffy’s will be offering a myriad of products including paper plates, bowls, cups, napkins and straws, as well as paper decorations and bunting to complete the Beano party set-up. The range will be sold across the High Street, grocery, independents and online.

Meanwhile, growing the offering in games and puzzles, Rocket has teamed up with Rachel Lowe to create a collection of puzzles, board games and card games for Dennis and his Beanotown friends. Product will be developed to appeal to both the adult gifting market and to kids, reflecting the cross-generational appeal of this classic British brand.

Beano confectionery in personalised packaging will also be created by Great Gifts. The unique gifting lines are set to include gift boxes, jars and advent calendars and launch across retail later this year.

Health and beauty experts H&A will also be developing a creative range of Beano products to include everyday essentials, play cosmetics, health and beauty accessories and hair care. These will be targeted at both boys and girls and launching into high street retail for autumn/winter 2020.

In licensed apparel, Park Agencies are supporting the brand, with adult and kids tees and sweats currently in development to launch into high street and online retail.

These new deals take place in the run up to Dennis’ 70th birthday in 2021, for which Beano Studios and Rocket Licensing are planning a raft of celebrations, partnerships and new product launches.

Rob Wijeratna, joint managing director of Rocket Licensing, said: “2019 was an incredibly busy and successful year for Beano, with a fabulous calendar of consumer products deals, marketing initiatives and campaigns. It’s great to be able to start 2020 with the same momentum, and five new best-in-class licensing deals for the brand, as we look ahead to a big celebration year in 2021.

“Beano continues to capture the hearts of the British public and offers a huge depth of content for great consumer products partnerships.”

Angeles Blanco, director of Global Licensing at Beano Studios, added “Adding five new partners to our licensing programme shows huge momentum as we build up to Dennis’ 70th birthday next year. We plan to continue this, adding more partners to bring Beano products to more fans, young and across the globe.”

Rachel Lowe talks a passion for bringing IP to the board gaming sector

Rachel Lowe is the creative mind behind some of the most popular titles in the licensed board game space at the moment and a revered name when it comes to key licenses looking to expand into this ever-growing category.

2019 culminated, for Lowe, with a run of successes, whether it was receiving a joint award from the Toy Retailer’s Association for her work on the hugely popular Jumanji board game, or the launch of her newest compendium of board games and card games developed in partnership with the global entertainment platform, WWE.

But that was so last decade. This year, and with London Toy Fair, Nuremberg’s Spielwarenmesse, and London Toy Fair just around the corner, Lowe will be using the toy fair season to showcase some of the latest brands she has to her ever-growing portfolio. This includes brands, by the way, like Elf on the Shelf and the British comic classic, Beano.

Licensing.biz takes the chance to talk to Lowe about her creativity, her career path into board game design (she started out as a taxi driver), and her passion for developing IP into games.

Hello Rachel… You had another busy and successful year last year, how did your career in board games start, where did it all begin for you?

My career in board games started when I was working as a part time taxi driver to pay my way through university back in 2002. I was out on a shift one night when I stopped at some traffic lights and a thought popped into my head; “Red light – Miss a turn.” 

That thought is where it all began. 

I imagined my taxi being a miniature playing piece on a board and all the destinations I was travelling to being part of the game play and the aim of the game would be to collect as many fares as possible.If you landed on traffic lights you would pick up a card and this would either be a help or hindrance to your journey and you would have to try not to run out of fuel or lose your licence along the way.The player with the most money at the end of the shift wins.

This game became known as Destination and I started with Destination London and Destination Portsmouth which I launched in 2004 and went on to create over 30 editions including licensed games for Harry Potter, Disney Pixar, London 2012 Olympic Games and Downton Abbey. 

My career has taken me on a rollercoaster journey and through this I found the licensing is what I love the most.  So I now have a company specialising in licensed board games, puzzles and playing cards.

You have a portfolio of successful games, from the Destination portfolio to all the licensed titles you have worked on. What’s your secret – how do you tap into your creativity?

Well, I love watching TV so that helps! So a good TV series or movie that can translate into a board game is a good place to start. I have to admit to binge watching to get familiar with story lines. Then I sketch out ideas and board layouts. I have certain elements that I will always try and include to make a game work. I then work with designers to take it through the next stage of the creative process.  Sometimes I also bring in other talent to help with concept development if we have tight deadlines to work with.

Secondly, what is more rewarding, the development of licensed titles, or cooking up your own?

Having your own IP is definitely rewarding but working with huge corporations such as Sony Consumer Products and WWE to develop products for them is massively exciting. 

We work with their style guides to create product in keeping with their branding and it is exciting to see the finished product with my company logo on it for such big brands. 

You’ve found yourself being the go to name for licensing and developing licensed titles. Has this been a conscious move on your part? What was the allure? What do you bring to this space, and what do you think this space brings out in your creativity?

I have been very fortunate to work with very established brands early on in my career such as Harry Potter and Disney Pixar properties. I find it easy to come up with ideas for game-play based on the content of the licensed property. I enjoy it and I especially love going behind the scenes for movies and TV series to get ideas for the content for the games. It is an exciting part of what I do and the style guides provide the assets which our designers use to bring our ideas to life. It is a creative process and something I will always enjoy doing.

Growing up, was there a moment that you think put you on course for this life in the toy and games industry?

I don’t know if it was destiny but I do remember a few of significant things from my childhood which evoked a love a board games.

The first was when McDonalds was running a competition. I was with some school friends, I was about 13 years old and we had popped into McDonalds after school. I bought some fries and was given a ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ Scratch card. I got the answer right and I won a Trivial Pursuit Board Game! 

I posted my winning card to claim my prize and a few weeks later this huge parcel was delivered to my house. My dad brought it up to my room which I shared with my sister and I remember opening it and everyone being gobsmacked that I had one such an amazing game.

My second memory was working in a fish shop when I was 14 years old earning £1.20 per hour and saving up all of my wages (which back then was cash in a small square brown envelope). Each week I would take my wage to Woolworths and buy one board game, so one week was Cluedo, the next was Scrabble etc. We already had Monopoly (and of course Trivial Pursuit) but I really wanted my own collection of games.

My third memory was in my art class at school when I was 15 years old. Our teacher Mr Wylie gave us a board game project to do and I remember creating a board game about gardening which I loved working on. 

Mr Wylie told me a story about someone who created a game and it got manufactured. I think it had a castle in it. I thought it was the coolest thing ever but never imagined I would one day be creating and retailing my own board games.

I still have all of the games I bought when I was a teenager, including the Trivial Pursuit Game that I won from McDonalds!

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

My proudest moment will always be achieving the number one position in Hamley’s of London with my first board game Destination London. It was my first big achievement in the Toy Industry and will always be a magical memory.

What piece of professional or design-related advice would you give to those looking to break into the career you have been so successful?

I would say the best bit of advice I can give is to surround yourself with good people. Focus on the things you are good at and out-source the things that others may do better. You don’t have to be good at everything to succeed. You just need to prioritise and delegate when needed.

Being where you are now, what piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Oh my, there are so many things I would tell my younger self. But hindsight is something that doesn’t actually change anything and I am proud of everything I have achieved, even my mistakes because I learned so much from all of it.  Everything I do now is based on all of my years of experience which is priceless.

What’s the next big project for you?

I have several big projects coming, some are still embargoed. WWE is obviously an exciting one that we have just launched but I also have signed with Elf on the Shelf for 2020 and also Beano.   

Rachel Lowe will be exhibiting at London Toy Fair (Stand GH16), Spring Fair Birmingham (Hall 5, Stand 5J60) and Nuremberg, Germany (Hall 10.0 Stand D-20).